Starship Down [1/1]

From: Joseph Delacroix <hk512_at_cleveland.Freenet.Edu>
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 1995 22:08:35 -0400

Starship Down

by -- Joseph DeLaCroix

This story is based on characters created by Service and Games (SEGA), and
on characters created by Archie Comic Publications, Inc. Any resemblance
to actual characters are not coincidental. ;)

Joseph, Bahb, and all other independent creations of Joseph DeLaCroix are
the copyrighted property of JoCo Inc. All rights reserved. Etc.

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Timeline: After "Bloodlines", but before "Doomsday". *shrug*

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The starship hummed as it approached the solar system. The apparently
doorless, windowless, disc-shaped reddish interplanetary vehicle dropped out
of warpspace, and dropped to conventional ion drive. Readjusting its
bearings slightly, and cloaking itself in order to avoid detection, it
headed toward a medium-sized planet, roughly 92 million miles from its
sun. It was an quite inviting, beautiful looking place, that had the
possibility of supporting millions upon millions of different lifeforms.
Usually, these planets developed intelligent life within 4 billion years or
so after their initial creation. This planet was one of them.

The inhabitants of this planet called it "Mobius".

The ship first detected the signs of an post-industrial planet three
years ago, as it was doing a routine scan through various frequencies. The
signals were several years old, but they indicated this "Mobius" was a
relatively peaceful planet, with only a single squabble between city states
bothering the otherwise serene world. But, according to a signal the
ship had picked up a bit later, a man called "Julian" had apparently beaten
them. The last signal the ship recieved was that a sort of gala
celebration was going to occur to honor this man with a more peaceful
position in the government. But just as the party was scheduled to begin,
a meteorite finally achieved the 1.679 x 10^80 against to one
probablility of something penetrating the shields and damaging the
communications array, and the ship was unable to recieve any further
information about the planet.

Noting the occurance in the ship's log, the computer set a course for the
origin of the signals with the maximum allowed speed for the ship; exactly
99.9% of the speed of light. (The ship's computer was programmed with a
directive that forbade it from going faster than light while on
autopilot, because of the various unpredictable things that could occur
in jumpspace.) A few years had passed since the beginning of the journey
and its current status, but the ship assumed (with less than a 2% margin of
error, according to its calculations of probablility according to the
information it had recieved) that the planet had not changed dramatically
within the past several years.

And now, the ship was slowing to a slow orbit around the planet, and was
doing a sensor sweep in order to determine the planet's exact status.
Needless to say, the ship was mostly correct. The planet still appeared to
be a relative paradise. However, one dramatic change had occured. The
coordinates of the capital city, which was described as an "garden city",
was now covered in a black-grey smog cloud. Had some sort of volcanic
eruption occured? The ship reconfigured its sensors scanned for
carbon-based lifeforms. Two showed up, both of them apparently bipedal,
evolved simians. Obviously, the ship hypothesised, some sort of major
catastrophe had severely damaged the city, and had only left two survivors.
However, the ship also detected motion below. Switching to IR, it peered
through the murky clouds, and spotted several thousand bipedal machines,
vaguely resembling various evolved mammals, doing various tasks. The ship
was puzzled for a moment, and then came to the conclusion that they could
possibly be cyborgs. Sure enough, when the ship scanned for cybernetic
lifeforms, the beings below showed up on the scans.

Now the ship was in a quandry. Within a few years, Mobitropolis had
apparently switched from garden city to ultra-industrial megacomplex for no
obvious or logical reason. The view of the environment must have radically
changed for the leaders of the planet, the ship surmised, or else they
would not be damaging it so. Whoever decided on this decision must have
felt they were under some sort of threat, because the ship then detected
beam weaponry on the planet's surface. But from what? Nothing threatened
them from space, for they were the only inhabited world around for several
light years. The rest of the planet appeared relatively uninhabited, and
there were surely no armies on the planet capable of damaging that city.

As if to disprove the ship's assumption in an ironic sense, a large
explosion was suddenly detected within the limits of the city.

The explosion was apparently caused by a sort of sabotage, for a platoon of
heavily armed robots was racing toward it, firing at an unknown
terrorist that the ship could not detect (due to the severe interference).
Moments later, the firing ceased. Either the shots had reached their
target, or the terrorist had escaped. The ship was about to note the
first in its log when a very fast-moving bluish object was detected racing
toward the area called "The Great Forest". Before a scan could be
activated, it was gone.

The ship had come to the conclusion that this planet was not a good place
to land. Apparently, some sort of major upheaval had occured, and the area
did not look very inviting. It decided to leave before something else

However, the ship then realized it would have to power down its cloak in
order to pull out of orbit, and expose itself to whichever inhabitants were
running things down on Mobius' surface. Also, if it left orbit, it would
be unable to find another suitable planet to land on, due to the damage
done to the communications array. It now had no choice but to land.
Protocol demanded it land away from a settled area. Fortunately, those
were widespread... It also wanted to land someplace where it could decloak
and remain covered. Scanning the surface, it discovered a small
clearing deep within the Great Forest that could it could safely land in,
which had no large or intelligent life forms around it. Not only that, a
small creek was spotted no more than 10 yards away from the center of the
site. It would be an ideal place to land in.

It decended into the atmosphere without disrupting it enough for anyone to
really notice. It soared above the Great Forest, found the spot it had
selected from orbit, and descended into it. Moments later, the ship had
landed uneventfully and silently within the small clearing.

After the landing had completed, the ship set up a camoflaged canopy so to
keep the ship from being spotted from orbit. After all, it couldn't remain
cloaked indefinitely, and when the ship's passenger finally emerged, he
would wish to work in secret. In seconds, the clearing no longer appeared
to exist from any altitude higher than 10 feet above it.

Things were moving along rather smoothly. All that was left to be done was
to reactivate the pilot, and the repairs on the ship could begin.

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Immediately behind the cockpit, an area had been set up for the cryogenic
storage of a single individual. As the ship began to power back up the
area, it slowly became visible to an observer's sight. It was basically a
single man-sized tube, connected to a coolant pipe and a computer. The
computer began to hum as the pipe began to withdraw from the tube. Then,
from the back of the room, a small laser powered up and began to fire at
the tube. It slowly began to grow red from the laser's heat. After a
predetermined period of time, it ceased. The ship then removed whatever
liquid remained in the tube, and pumped it outside. Finally, it
appeared the process had been completed. The tube opened up so to
allow its contents to exit, and the machinery shut down.

Jhoeseophae awoke groggily from his long slumber. <<"Arrgh.">> he muttered
as he wandered over and put on his clothes. He stumbled over to the
replicator, generated something hot and wet, and threw it down his throat.
Now with most of his faculties active, he wandered over to the mirror.
As a test of his cognative abilities, he decided to examine himself as an
impartial observer, and see what he could infer about himself from
a quick examination.

The green eyes bored into his face. He was a vulpine, bipedal and highly
evolved. Orange fur. Eyes that seemed to radiate intelligence.
Razor-sharp teeth. Slight muscular build, but somewhat apathied from the
long period in stasis. Roughly 23 years old. On the tall and slim side
for his species, standing at about 6'4" and roughly 180 pounds.

Seeing that his mental faculties were operating at optimum efficiency, he
went over to his wardrobe and threw on some clothes. A pair of
fashionably-frayed denim pants, with a pair of knee-high black metal-tipped
boots were laying about, so he put those on. Platinum-buckled belt, and a
green t-shirt...didn't look THAT dirty... Fingerless gloves were already
on, so had to complement the ensemble with his grey trenchcoat. Voila.
Instant cool.

Now that he felt pretty good about himself, he wandered into the cockpit to
discuss his awakening with the ship's AI, Bahb. <<"Okay,">> said
Jhoeseophae aloud, sitting down in the captain's chair, <<"where are we,

<<"We are on a planet called Mobius.">> spake the computer in a sexless,
mechanical voice.

<<"Tell me what you know about Mobius, Bahb.">> said Jhoeseophae.
And Bahb did.

<<"This is not good, Bahb, you know that?">>

<<"Affirmative. Landing on this planet at this stage of its development is
not advised.">>

<<"Then why are we here?">>

<<"Repairs required for communications array. Cannot continue with mission
until repaired.">>

<<"So we're stuck here, on a planet in the midst of an all-out war, with a
busted radio and no place to go until I fix it?">>


<<"How do I fix it, Bahb?">>

<<"Unknown. Pilot intervention required.">>

Jhoeseophae mused over this point, grabbed some tools laying next to the
seat, and walked over to the hatch.

<<"Open the hatch, Bahb.">> he said, and it was.

Jhoeseophae emerged out into the canopy's filtered moonlight. The area
appeared fairly healthy. The plants were green, and the water looked crisp
and clear. It didn't look like a industrial hell, and certainly didn't
have the aura of death about it. After a few deep breaths, he padded
quietly over to the area of the smooth, oval-shaped ship's
communications array.


The communications array looked totaled. Something a tad larger than a
full-grown vulpine's head had hit the thing, and hit it hard. Most of the
parts were pulverized. He sighed. Jhoeseophae was incapable of
repairing it, even with his arsenal of technological knowledge.
He walked back into the ship, and sat back down in the captain's chair.



<<"We got any extra communications arrays back there?">>

<<"Negative. However, one could be replicated.">>

<<"Do you have enough power to do that?">>


Somehow, he had expected that would be the answer.

<<"Are there any power sources on the planet you could utilize?">>

<<"Scanning. Please wait.">>

He waited for about 3 minutes, and then heard:

<<"Potential energy source located.">>, Bahb beeped, <<"Designation:
Crystalline.">> Jhosesophae's hope began to rise until he heard,
<<"Location:">> Bahb suddenly fell silent. <<"Electromagnetic flux from
Mobitropolis makes exact location currently unavailable.">>

He sighed. <<"Any good raves on Mobius, Bahb?">>

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Robotropolis, shortly after the "terrorist attack":

Snively hated his life some days, with a bottomless, infinite passion.
This was one of those days. Yet again the Freedom Fighters (curse them!)
had detonated another vital part of Robotropolis, and yet again Snively had
to be the bearer of bad news. He didn't know why, just once, a SWAT Bot
couldn't tell Robotnik the bad news. At least they were expendable. Of
course, in Robotnik's red, glowing eyes, so was he...

He wandered into the Death Egg's control room, where Robotnik spent the
majority of his day. He was sitting there in his chair, tapping his left
index finger on the left armrest. Just sitting there, waiting.

Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap.

Robotnik spoke first. "Let me guess, Snively," Robotnik sneered, not
turning around, "you have bad news for me, don't you?"

Snively started stuttering. "Umm...y-y-yes, Dr. Robotnik. Umm...the #6
Refinery, uh, uhmm..."

Robotnik spun the chair around, and glared at Snively with all his might.
"#6 was DESTROYED, wasn't IT?!"


"Shut up!" Robotnik roared with all his might, "I *know* about the #6
Refinery, you simpering dullard!" Robotnik lept out of his chair, grabbed
Snively by the scruff of the neck before he had a chance to get away, and
shoved him against the screen showing the flaming wreckage of the said
refinery being cleaned up by various robotizised citizens. "I *watched*
the attack from HERE!" Snively could only freeze in a sort of delayed
survival instinct. "Didn't I tell you last week to TRIPLE the amount of
SWAT Bots guarding the refinery zones? DIDN'T I?!? After all, they
attacked #1 a month and a half ago, #2 5 weeks ago, #3 the next week, etc!
We've only got the #7 *left* now, Snively! WE are going to be SHUT DOWN
unless we can keep #7 up! Do you know what that MEANS?!?"

Snively desperately tried to defend himself as Dr. Robotnik twisted his arm
around so that Snively and him were now eye-to-eye. In a burst of
confusion mized with fear, Snively uttered, "I d-d-did t-triple the
amount, sir..."

Dr. Robotnik roared in rage, and threw Snively at the nearest wall, which
he collided into painfully. Robotnik then strode over to the intercom, and
pushed the button down with a sudden calm. "Quintruple the amount of SWAT
Bots guarding #7 Refinery." "Yes, sir." a voice on the other side spoke.

Repressing the remainder of his anger, he sat back down in his chair, and
stared into the viewscreens. He was now seriously depressed. Repairs were
continuing on the first few refineries, but the first one that was
destroyed would not be operational for another 2 days from then. If that
blasted hedgehog attacked #7 tomorrow (which he probably would, considering
that if he did, it would annoy Robotnik further), and destroyed it,
Robotropolis would probably have to slow down for a few days until the new
refinery went up, which they would, of course, attack.

He was at a critical point now. If they were able to continue destroying
his refineries, he'd have to either shut down or find an alternative, more
efficient, and probably (yuck) cleaner energy source for Robotropolis. The
whole scenerio depressed him. Even beating the crap out of Snively (who was
up against the wall, wheezing) didn't make him feel better. He growled,
pounded his fist against the armrest, and swore for a little bit about the
hedgehog's demise until he felt somewhat more civil. Suddenly, he thought
of a way to make himself feel better, yet do something constructive at
the same time.

He pushed the intercom button again. "Bring up a prisoner, please.", he
said evilly. He always put on an air of faux politeness when about to
torture the living daylights out of another sentinent being. "Sorry," the
voice said, "we don't have any prisoners left, sir. You robotisized them
all yesterday." Robotnik blinked. "What?!?" The voice sounded less
sure of itself. "Yes, sir, don't you remember? 21:00 Robotropolis
Central Time." He snarled. "Then go out and capture some then, and tell
me when you get them here!" Sharply, the voice said, "Yes, sir!" and
disappeared into silence.

Robotnik then looked over to the fairly-recovered Snively. "Snively," he
said casually, "make yourself useful and go with some SWAT Bots on their
little hunt." Snively just nodded, and ran out of the room. After he was a
fair distance away, Robotnik muttered, "Good help is so hard to find these
days." and began a perimeter sweep of Robotropolis.

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Knothole, after the attack:

The usual small celebration was going on over the destruction of yet
another Robotnik installation. Sonic, was, of course, drinking in all of
the positive attention and recieving most of the compliments; while Sally
and Rotor, who accompanied Sonic on that mission, would occasionally roll
their eyes at some of the hedgehog's more gratuitous exaggerations. After
a few more minutes, the celebration came to an end, and the trio wandered
back into Sally's hut to discuss the next mission.

"Well," said she, "we're in good shape, guys. Robotnik only has one more
refinery left, so Robotropolis is almost completely come to a halt now."

"Yeah!" spoke the blue wonder, "So, what time tomorrow do we go to destroy
lucky #7? I'll set my alarm."

"Sonic," Sally said, "if we went off and tried to destroy that refinery,
we might as well just walk up to Robotnik and surrender. We barely got
out of this one alive."

Sonic started tapping his foot on the ground, and crossed his arms. "Well, if
that's the way you feel about it, Sal, I'll do it myself! I know how Rotor
plants the bombs! *I* can do it!"

Sally looked over at Rotor. "Well," the walrus said, "they aren't really
*that* complex. All he'd have to to is type in however much time he'd need
on the first one, and all the others would sync."

Noting that point, Sally mentally selected another one and glared at Sonic.
"Are you insane?! Robotnik will at least have 400 SWAT Bots in there, and
you KNOW they'll be on alert now."

Sonic smirked, and gesticulated his arms in a manner an umpire denotes a
player is "safe". "A few hundred 'bots won't slow me down. It'll be a

"A *breeze*?!" Sally shouted, "You'll be slaughtered!"

"Ha!" the blue one noted, "I'll be there and back before they'll even
notice the attack!" and snapped his fingers.

"Sonic..." she pleaded, "I forbid you to do this. It's just too

"I *live* on danger!" cried the hedgehog, "and if I pull this one off,
Robotnik will REALLY be hurtin'! C'mon, Sal, let me do it!"

Sally looked over at Sonic. "Look, I'll tell you in the morning. I need
to consider this, okay?"

Sonic smiled. "Sure, Sal, no sweat. You know where to find me." With
that, he powered himself up and rocketed out the door. Lightly grabbing
any stable objects, Sally and Rotor rode out the shockwave with a minimum
of distress.

"You're going to let him go, aren't you?" said Rotor softly.

She sighed. "Do I really have a choice? Even if I say no, he'll go."
She took a breath. "At least if I tell him when to go, I'll be able to see
him leave..."

"Now Sally," Rotor spake, "don't act like that. Sonic will come back from
this one. I just know it."

Sally walked over to the window, and stared up into the night sky.
"I just hope you're right, Rotor."

Suddenly, Tails walked in. "Aunt Sally," he said, "we're out of berries
again. Should I go out and pick some tomorrow?"

Sally sighed. "Uh, sure, Tails. Could you take Bunnie with you? She's
been pacing around here bored."

Tails smiled. "Sure, Aunt Sally, it'll be my pleasure!"

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A new day broke over the Great Forest. Light streamed in through the
leaves of the various trees, and most of the animals, sentinent and
non-sentinent alike, were awakened.

Jhosesophae came out of sleep mode, and forced himself to stand. A
rapid exchange of carbon dioxide for oxygen occured, and his appendeges were
properly recalibrated. (To a layman, that would be percieved as Jhosesophae
yawning and stretching out.)

He wandered over to the replicator, created a yellow cube about 5 cubic
inches in volume, and began eating it. He wandered into the cockpit, sat
down in the chair, and activated the screen. <<"Status report.">>

Bahb beeped back to life as Jhosesophae reclined and ate his cube.
<<"In a two klick radius around the ship, approximately 1.5 small mammals
had been detected moving in the last 12 hours. None have come within one
klick of the ship. 4 birds had been detected flying above the ship at a
average altitude of 100 yards above sea level. 150 worms have been noted
approxamately 2 inches below the landing gear. The temperature outside is
+73.5 degrees. The probability it will remain clear today is 95.1%. Fuel
level is at 75% of maximum. Communications array is down. Weapons, cloak,
shields, navigation, transporters, propulsion, sensors, life support and
cryogenic storage are on standby.">>

Jhosesophae finished his cube. <<"We need to get those crystals, Bahb. Do
you detect any mines or above-ground sources of them today?">>

<<"Electromagnetic flux is currently low enough for a precise scan.">> Bahb
tweeted proudly, <<"Now scanning for crystals.">>

<<"Confirmed.">> Bahb beeped. <<"An enterance to a mine system exists
exactly 3 miles from here, in the center of a whirlpool.">>

<<"I hate water,">> Jhosesophae uttered, <<"But I hate being marooned even
more.">> Jhosesophae grabbed his microcomputer from a shelf, walked to the
replicator, and placed it on the replicator's altar. <<"Bahb, waterproof
and charge this device.">> Bahb quietly did so, with a pulse of plasmatic
energy. He then removed the computer from the pad. <<"Bahb, link with
this device.">> Suddenly, Bahb's voice was heard from the small speaker on
the device. <<"Affirmative.">>

Jhosesophae took a small stun weapon from another counter as he walked into
the transporter tube. <<"Bahb, teleport me as close as you possibly can to
the enterence to the mine, but keep me distant from other life forms.">>
Bahb didn't answer. It merely set coordinates and shot Jhosesophae through
the atmosphere.

Seconds later, Jhosesophae rematerialized about 5 feet from the edge of the
whirlpool. He noted that this was where the creek ended that ran by the
side of his craft. <<"Bahb, copy.">>, not expecting an answer.

The device beeped somewhat with some light static, <<"On standby.">>

Jhosesophae suddenly realized that this was technically impossible.
<<"Bahb, how are you doing this?">>

The device uttered, <<"Your microcomputer has a seperate communications
array than the central one on the ship. A small version of the main array,
with a lesser range, is implanted inside the ship. That is how my signals
are reaching you.">>

<<"Oh,">> Jhosesophae said, <<"that makes sense. How much further away can
you reach me from?">>

<<"You can go either 100 more miles in any direction horizontally or
straight up, or 5 feet straight down. The soil on this planet is
interfering with the array.">>

Jhosesophae grumbled. <<"Very well. I'm going down the whirlpool now, and
I'm leaving my communicator up here. I will try to report back on an
regular basis. Over and out.">>

<<"Affirmative. Good luck.">>

As Bahb fell silent, Jhosesophae looked down into the watery pit. Thinking
about the approximate size of the crystal he was going to need, and the
fact that it was probably going to weigh an excessive amount, he calmly
removed his trenchcoat, boots and jeans, and folded them neatly beneath the
microcomputer. Then, grabbing the stun pistol in his jaws, he plunged
beneath the surface.

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He swam as hard as he could down through the narrow passageway. Lower and
lower he went into the hole, descending deep into the heart of the
underground caverns. Suddenly, he felt a current pulling behind him.
Instinctively following it, he swam for another few yards until he slowly
began to see a dim light further ahead. Pouring on the speed, he
determinedly swam toward the light, and finally emerged inside an
airpocket. As he took some much-needed oxygen into his system, he glanced
around at his surroundings.

Meanwhile, a creature was watching the vulpine's movement within the
tunnel, and silently waited for him to exit it again.

He was floating by the shore of an currently unused crystal vein. They
lined the walls, and glowed with a mysterious, yet beautiful, light. As he
pulled himself onto a slab of granite, he marvelled at the strange calm
that this room seemed to have about it. He stood there for a minute or two
on the inlet, and then resigned himself to his work. He found a crystal
that appeared to be of a medium-size, and used his stun-ray to cut it off
the side of the cavern. After it had been freed from the wall, he tucked
it under his shoulder, put the stun-ray back in his mouth, and dove back
into the water.

This had been much easier than expected, he thought to himself, and he
could probably get off this planet before anyone ever knew he was there.

The creature saw the fox leave the cavern, and silently prepared itself for
a filling meal.

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As Jhosesophae swam back through the tunnel, and out toward the shaft
leading back up to the surface, a shape shot past him, startling him.
He dropped the crystal out of an instinctual reaction to the threat, and
tried to swim as fast as he could up the shaft. But whatever darted past
him saw this intent, and wrapped a sort of tenticle around his leg,
restraining his escape. He turned to face whatever was grabbing him, and
suddenly realized he was in a deep spot of trouble.

It seemed to be some sort of robotic octupus. But this particular model
was also outfitted with a a beak made out of two chainsaws, lazer beams by
its eyes, and incredibly strong tendrils with little spikes on them. Very
*sharp* spikes, because they hurt a lot and were making him bleed.

Pain made him mad.

With a sort of psychotic glee, he took the stun pistol from his mouth, and
set the device to maximum power. Looking over at the creature, he smiled
and shot it a "big mistake there, pal" look, and blasted the evil thing right
inbetwixt the eyes. It released his leg, and seemed to stumble backwards,
if such a thing is possible underwater. But the thing was not yet dead.
It fired several shots of a sort of death-ray beam at Jhosesophae, and
emitted a "HALT FREEDOM FIGHTER!" at him. However, since Jhosesophae was
not familiar with the Mobian language, he had no idea that this thing was
actually one of Dr. Robotnik's defense mechanisms that was posted on the
outskirts of the mine's underground river. He dodged the beams and blasted
the thing in the head again with his particular beam weapon. It reeled
again from the impacts, but had one last trick up its robotic sleeves. It
whipped one of its tendrils around like a mace and shot several of the
spikes off its tendrils at Jhosesophae. He was able to dodge the majority
of them, but a few of them caught him in the back, giving the holes in his
leg some company.

At this point, Jhosesophae was so incredibly mad at this creature, he had
completely forgotten about the crystal and was now dedicated to totally
decimating this creature once and for all. He rushed at the octupus and
knocked it against the wall. While it was stunned, Jhosesophae ran at it,
and tore at the holes that he had put in the octupus, looking for anything
that looked vital and smashing it to bits. It tried to thrash around, but
Jhosesophae would not let it get away. Finally, he spotted the CPU of the
evil machine and punched it with all his might.

With a single whistle, the machine sunk to the bottom of the cavern, never
to move again.

Having stopped the threat, Jhosesophae dove down to the bottom of the
cavern. He collected his crystal, and swam back up to the surface to catch
his breath. He hoped this sort of thing wasn't going to happen to him
often while he was here. This planet was becoming less hospitable every

He returned back to the bright sunlight of the surface. Placing the
crystal next to the communicator, he spoke, <<"Bahb, copy.">>

<<"Welcome back, Jhosesophae.">> the device said, <<"Were you sucessful in
your endevor?">>

<<"Affirmative. Will this crystal suffice?">>

Bahb scanned the crystal. <<"Negative. One more is required of this size
in order to properly replicate the communications array.">>

Jhosesophae sighed. <<"Confirmed. Be back in a minute.">> He dreaded
returning to the area, in case there were more of the things that attacked
him down there, but he wanted off this crazy rock extremely badly. He dove
back down beneath the water with his stun ray in tow, and hoped he'd never
have to do this again.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

A few hundred yards away, on a trail leading close by to the pool in
question, Bunnie was escorting Tails back to Knothole. She'd never say
that in front of Tails, of course, because Tails felt that he was competent
enough to pick some raspberries, which he had done sucessfully, and take
them back to Knothole himself. The reason Bunnie was coming along, Tails
believed, was because she was going slightly stir-crazy from hanging around
Knothole for so long without going on a mission. Besides, Sonic was busy
planning his strategy for tonight's mission, and was unavailable.

"Thanks for lettin' me come along wit'cha, Tails," Bunnie said,
perpetuating the ruse, "I was gettin' kinda bored helpin' out Rotor all
day." Like Sonic gets tired of eatin' chili dogs, she thought, smiling

"It's okay, Aunt Bunnie." Tails said politely, snapping her out of her
daydream. Suddenly, Tails saw something glitter through the trees over
by the pond. He placed his arm out in front of Bunnie, and gestured toward
the pond. In a unspoken understanding, they slipped quietly off the trail
and walked in a semicircle behind the source of the shine. They slipped
almost immediately behind it when they saw its source; a large chunk of

This puzzled the both of them. That size crystal just doesn't grow on the
land. Only ones that are found underground grow that large. "We should
get a closer look," Tails whispered, "in case it *did* just happen to end
up there."

Bunnie was slightly more conservative. "Ya wanna get yer head shot off,
sugar? This looks like a trap! We should go back to Knothole and tell
Sal 'bout this."

"And how," Tails muttered, "do you expect to get back to Knothole? The
path is the only way I know of from here."

Bunnie was stumped for an answer. She didn't know another way, either.
"Okay, sugar," she said to Tails, "but you go back to Knothole and tell
everyone, okay?" Tails nodded, gained some altitude, and flew off toward
Knothole. After he was out of sight, she cautiously crept closer
to the pond. As she got closer, she noticed a pair of black boots next to
a pile of clothing, with a microcomputer like Sally had next to it. "Y'all
went for a swim?" she thought as she crept closer, gazing upon the crystal.
"Then what d'y'all need such a big crystal for? They don' float..."

Suddenly, the computer tweeted threateningly at her. "Halt, Mobian
intruder!" it shouted in perfect Mobian. Bunnie looked dumbfounded at the
machine. "Huh?" she said, confused.

"Halt! Halt!"

Realizing she was still walking, she ceased. "What's your problem, little

"You are permitted to go no closer. Go back!" As to accent this point,
the computer somehow fired some energy beams in the air until she started
to back up.

Slowly, she backed up, back into the forest, until she noticed blood in the
water, and started putting two and two together. Clothing by a pool.
Blood in the water. A belligerent, armed computer. And then, two or three
bubbles popped on the surface of the water, as to be sure she understood
what was going on here. She came to the conclusion that the device was
somehow picking people off who walked by the path (which was no more than
2-3feet from the edge of the water). She couldn't just leave the thing
there in good conscience undistrubed. So, as she passed by a nearby
boulder, she kicked it at the microcomputer. It fired at the rock, but it
ricocheted off the rock and hit Bunnie's abdomen instead, knocking her
unconscious. As Bunnie hit the ground, the rock hit the microcomputer. If
the ground would have been hard, it would have broken it. However, the
soft mud gave way beneath it, and it sunk underneath it harmlessly.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

This probably could have been avoided if Jhosesophae had gotten the last
crystal at a slightly more rapid pace. Unfortunately, accidents happen,
and Jhosesophae surfaced just seconds after the incident occured.
<<"Bahb,">> Jhosesophae said, wiping water from his eyes, <<"I've got the
last crystal. Do you co--">> Suddenly, he noticed what had just happened.
<<"Oh no.">> He turned over the rock, grabbed the communicator, and wiped
it off. <<"Bahb, WHAT DID YOU DO?!">> Before Bahb could answer,
Jhosesophae intervened. <<"NEVER MIND! Just beam everything directly to
sick bay, STAT!">> Seconds later, all evidence that Jhosesophae ever came
to that pond was gone, aside for some torn-up grass, was gone.

Back on the ship, Jhosesophae was frantically applying some first aid to
the damaged cybunny. <<"Bahb, you better hope REAL HARD that was just a
stun ray.">> he cursed, as he got finished patching Bunnie up. He then
rushed back to the replicator. <<"Okay, now what?">>

<<"Place the crystals in the engine core, and I'll take care of the
rest.">> Bahb noted. Jhosesophae complied, sticking the two large crystals
next to the smaller crystal rods already present.

Bahb immediately set to its work. It first cut out (using microblasts from
the weapons systems) the damaged communications array, so that there was a
somewhat jagged hole in the side of the ship. Then, it created a energy
pattern similar to a perfectly functioning communications array and placed
it inside the transporter's energy buffer. Finally, it teleported it over
the hole in the hull that used to be the communications array. After
reinitializing the communications systems, and by bending several laws of
physics, the ship was yet again at 100%.

<<"Repairs complete,">> spake Bahb, <<"All systems at 100% efficiency.">>

<<"Good,">> said Jhosesophae. <<"Now, I'm going to put on some clothing.
Please keep our guest in REM sleep for the duration of my absence.">>
The ship beeped in compliance as Jhosesophae began putting on a similar
outfit; and wondered how exactly to deal with this new snag in his plan.
Suddenly, he discovered another snag. He was still bleeding profusely from
his legs and back. While this didn't bother him as such, it was getting
all over the carpet. So, he wandered back into sick bay, laid down on an
unoccupied slab, and activated the medical robot. After he was bandaged
up, and the cuts and nicks welded shut, he dressed himself and checked on
the damaged cybunny's condition.

The sucking hole in her abdomen was healing nicely. In about 5 minutes,
she'd be healed enough to release. Then, he could get off this insane
rock, and back into space, where it was SAFE. He was definitely not
recommending this place to anyone. Suddenly, he sensed that she was
starting to awaken. He activated the restraining field, and backed up a
few paces.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Bunnie slowly started to come out of her forced slumber. Her head felt
like someone had used it to bowl a perfect game. "Ooh, muh head..." she
groaned as she tried to sit up. Suddenly, she felt the wound in her
stomach, winced, and laid back down again. Sitting up was not something
she was going to do for a while.

"Please don't do that." a synthesised voice uttered.

"Huh?" Bunnie groaned, as she opened her eyes.

The room was white. White, and lit by some unknown source. She was laying
on one of the many slabs that were around the room. A single doorway lead
out directly in front of her. A monitoring unit was to her left,
apparently keeping track of her life signs. A tall, thin orange fox was
monitoring it.

This obviously wasn't Robotropolis. If it was, they'd finish her off
around now. But if it wasn't Robotropolis, and it certainly wasn't
Knothole, where was she?

"Hey," she muttered and waved her roboticized arm at the figure, "you
there!" The figure either didn't hear her, or didn't understand her.
Jhosesophae heard the creature `making noise' at him, and said <<"Bahb,
does the creature appear to be sentinent?">> Bunnie could only look
puzzled. <<"It appears so,">> Bahb said, <<"Also, she was implanted with
cybernetic limbs that seem to be poisoning her.">> Jhosesophae hmmed.
<<"Well, we'll ask her about that, later. For now, I need to know what
she's saying. Please create a translation program, and prepare to upload
it to my crainal jack via the dataspike.">> Bahb beeped in compliance, and
a wall in the back of the room suddenly grew a 4-inch long silver spike.
Bunnie watched as the figure walked over to the wall, turned around to have
his back to it, and shoved his skull up to its hilt. A slight hum filled
the room as an electrical pulse entered the figure's skull. A minute or
two later, he removed his skull from the spike (which retreated back into
the wall) with no ill effects.

"Well," Jhosesophae said in proper Mobian, "am I coherent to you now?"
Bunnie weakly nodded. "Good. It's always kind of annoying when one lands
on a planet and doesn't know the language." He smiled, and walked closer
to the discombobulated semi-metallic rabbit. "You took quite a shot there,
young female. If you would have been any closer to my device when it went
off," His smile fluxuated slightly. "Well, let's just say having children
wouldn't be an option." He perked up again. "Luckily for you, the blast
only shredded some of your abdomenic muscles, and didn't cut any deeper.
The healing pad," He gestured at the white gauze-like pad taped to her
stomach. "you have on should return you to normal in about 2 or 3 minutes."
Jhosesophae took a deep breath. "Okay, do you have any questions?"

"Who are you? *WHAT* are you? Why are you here?"

"Ah," Jhosesophae said, "the inquisitive type. That sort of attitude gives
me hope for this planet." He bowed. "I am Jhosesophae, formerly of the
planet Ur'thae. Mentally, I am 18 years old. Physically, I am 315. You
see, I am a cybernetic device that is used as a manner of
immortality by containing the sum of my meat-brain's neural pathways
encrypted in my circuitry. And I came here because my ship's
communications array was damaged."

Bunnie blinked. "Could you explain that in more detail?"

Jhosesophae shrugged. "As you wish..."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"About 300 years ago, there was a planet around a star...a very large
distance...away from here. This planet was mainly populated by what you
call `foxes'. They had achieved massive technological breakthroughs, such as
a propultion system than enabled them to travel faster than light,
artificial intelligences, and the ability to transfer energy into matter,
and matter into energy." He let this sink in. "For a reference point, my
world was about 100 years ahead of yours in technological prowess before
whatever happened here happened."

"However, unlike your world, mine was not a peaceful one. Wars raged
continuously over the most valuable technology on the planet; the neural
transfer device. This device, when used in conjunction with a android body
with a neural net, could replicate the thought patterns of any individual
and transfer them into the android's form."

"The main problem with this sort of technology was, of course, the
religious element. Several of the settlements on the western continent
felt this technology stripped the soul from the essence, thus causing a
scream of psychic agony after transfer was complete. This was,
hypothetically, causing a major disruption in the psychic plane, and
therefore had to be stopped before the wave started effecting the physical

"Of course, very few individuals on the eastern continent, where my father
(the inventor of the process) and I lived, wanted to give up the chance to
further advance science by escaping the limitations of the flesh. So, a
law was passed; those who wanted to become android versions of themselves
moved to the east, while those who did not moved to the west."

"Well, you'd THINK this would solve the problem, but it didn't. The
western continent simply became more infuriated at the people in the east,
because they were now isolated from them physically, psychologically, *and*
mentally. Not only that, but the western continent was far more populous
and prosperous than the east. The move only allowed the fanatical west to
stew in their own juices."

"So, the spritual (and not surprisingly, political as well) leaders of
the east decided their eternity could tolorate no more psychic warping, or
the spirit world was going to burst into this reality, or some horse-hockey
like that, and thus motivated the people to war against the west."

"The wars raged on and off for years. Major damage was done to both
continents. Deforestation from napalm runs caused the environment to
slowly collapse, and beam weaponry destroyed most external structures."

"Finally, the world could take no more. The individuals in the east, being
purely organic, were dying from the inhospitable environment. The west,
however, was only annoyed by it. Finally, the east came to a decision.
Since they could not, and would not, escape the very unfortunate
weaknesses of the flesh by cyborgization, they decided NOBODY would. They
sabotaged the Central Crystal, which powered the entire planet, and the
planet was suddenly turned into a giant bomb."

"We had 1 hour to live."

"My father..." He bowed his head slightly, took a breath, and continued.
"My father gave me the greatest gift he possibly could. He had been
designing a special cyborg body for me, that would be stronger, faster,
heal quicker, and had a better sensory array than any other cyborg on
Ur'thae. He was intending to port my intelligence into it on my 21st
birthday. However, due to the impending disaster, he grabbed me, knocked
me unconscious, and started the process."

"I awoke 5 minutes before the planet exploded. I was in this body, and I
was in a sort of a daze. My father said to me, `Son, I cannot escape, but
you can. Take this star vessel,' and he gestured to the saucer which you
and I now reside, `take this star vessel, and get far from this world. Take
the knowledge of this planet with you, and teach the rest of our universe
of our mistakes.' He embraced me, and whispered he loved me into my ear.
Then, he forced me onto the ship, for I did not want to leave him to die by
himself, and I shot away from my home, my father..."

"I *wanted* to turn back, but he had programmed the ship not to. By the
time I was able to regain control, there were two stars in my solar system
instead of one. They had all been utterly destroyed because of a matter of

He continued on, fighting back tears. "We were very close. He and I
worked together on experiments since I was but a kit. But he gave me the
great burden of sharing the knowledge, history, and culture of my world with
the universe, and the near-infinite time needed to do so."

"After a period of mourning, I programmed the ship to seek out any signals
from planets with intelligent life, set coordinates for them, and awaken me
when we arrived. I then entered the ship's single cryogenic chamber, and
the reason my father could not go with me, and slept for over 300 years."

"I awoke on this world just a day ago. The only reason we stopped here was
because the communications array had failed. Since we were not only forced
to land here, but this planet had large deposits of crystal, I went out to
mine some out of an underground cavern; and after I slayed a large metallic
octupus which tried to destroy me, I met with positive results."

"Unfortunately, you must have discovered the small pool which I dove into
to acquire said crystal, with my small microcomputer defense mechanism
guarding it. You must have kicked that boulder at it with
your...augmented...legs, and it fired upon it to defend itself.
Unfortunately, it richoceted off the rock, and hit you. I discovered you
lying there and teleported us and the crystals I had mined back to the

Jhosesophae calmed down considerably. "Now, I have repaired my ship, and
I will leave your planet. Now, I give you a choice. Since you are
somewhat similar to myself, I will give you a chance that nobody else on
this world has. You can travel the universe with me, because I have just
enough power left in the replicator to create another cryonic chamber, or
you can remain here."

Jhosesophae ceased speaking. Bunnie blinked again.


Jhosesophae held up his hands. "Please, take your time in deciding. I'm
in no particular rush. Besides, you need to stay here just a bit longer,
because your stomach is still damaged. I'll be back in a few minutes, and
you can tell me your answer then." He smiled, and walked out of the room.

Bunnie started mulling this over in her mind. She could finally escape the
clutches of Robotnik. Maybe this person could de-roboticize her. And she
could do something no Mobian had done before; visit another planet.

But, she remembered what Robotnik had done to her. What he did to other
people. What he was doing to other people! Then, she thought of the friends
she'd leave behind. Tails, Sonic, Sally and Rotor. They were probably
looking for her! She had completely forgotten about that. No, she could
NOT leave.

Jhosesophae walked back in. He removed the bandage from her stomach.
"Well, that looks a LOT better now than it did before." She looked down
and didn't even see a scar. "The muscle tissue will come back in a few
days." he said, and grinned at her again. "So, what do you say, uh...."

"Bunnie." she said, "Bunnie Rabbot."

"Ah, Miss Rabbot. Yes. So, do you wish to travel the 12 Galaxies with me,
or do you wish to stay here?"

"I gotta stay 'ere, sugar. I'm needed."

"Needed?" Jhosesophae said. "But this planet's been trashed. Why would
anyone be needed here?"

And Bunnie told him why. She explained what had happened on Mobius, and
what had happened to her. She told him about the Freedom Fighters, and
the fight against Robotnik.

This struck a chord in Jhosesophae. He lifted up Bunnie's robotic arm.
"So that...animal...did this to you?"

Bunnie nodded sadly.

"I understand why you cannot leave. What is happening on this planet
should not be allowed to spread to other worlds." He helped Bunnie to her
feet. "Come on, we're going to drop you off in style."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Knothole was abuzz with activity. The rumor was that Bunnie was somehow
captured by Robotnik via some sort of trap. They had searched the forest
for her, after Tails had returned to Knothole and told them of the
mysterious crystal in the woods. A search party was sent out to the site,
but they found nothing but some torn-up grass, and a few drops of oil and
blood floating in the water. When they went down to the pool to take a
closer look, all they found was a trashed sentrybot that guarded a crystal
mine they had not known about before. No Bunnie.

The search parties returned unsucessfully, and everyone was starting to
worry. "You think that a 'bot patrol got her, Sally? There's been a lot
more of those lately..." Sonic asked.

Sally shrugged. "I don't know, Sonic. We can't find her anywhere."

Sonic paced around impatiently. "Well, Sal," he said, "I'm not gonna wait
around any longer. I'm gonna hit the refinery and then check the prison
blocks for her."

Sally said, "Sonic, please..."

Sonic scowled. "You can't stop me now, Sal. I've got my power ring, and
I'm gonna come back with Bunnie. It's juice time!"

With a burst of speed, Sonic was nowhere in sight. "Good luck," Sally
whispered, her soul filled with dread.

Suddenly, the sky began to darken. People began rushing out of their huts,
and glancing to the sky. An round shadow blocked out the sun that seemed to
be larger than the entire village. Panic spread like wildfire. Nobody
knew what the shadow was, nor if it was Robotnik. Then, two sparkling
outlines appeared in the center of Knothole. Sally rushed out to meet
them, expecting the worst.

After another few seconds, the outlines solidified into the forms of Bunnie
and Jhosesophae. "Hey there, Sally-girl!" Bunnie shouted, and rushed over
toward Sally and gave her a big hug. Jhosesophae just stood there. Sally
had a puzzled look on her face. "Umm, Bunnie..." Bunnie kept on talking.
"Boy, wait 'till I tell ya what hap'ened to ME today!" "Bunnie..." "I
tell ya, it'd make a pretty good novel." "Bunnie!" Bunnie snapped out of
her excited stupor. "What, Sally?" "Who is that?" Sally said, and pointed
at the tall, thin, orange vulpine.

Bunnie walked over to Jhosesophae, took his hand, and led him over to the
Princess. "This is...uh, how do you pronounce it?"

"Jhosesophae." he said.

"This is Joseph," Bunnie said, "and he's come from, uh..."



Sally shook the stranger's hand. "Hello, Joseph." Jhosesophae
shook back. "Hello, Sally. Your planet is very...uh...nice."

She smiled, and said "Thank you, Joseph. I'm afraid that it's not in the
best of conditions now, but it used to be quite beautiful."

He smiled. "I'm sure it was, once."

Then, Sally remembered Sonic's mission. "Bunnie, Sonic thinks you've been
captured by Robotnik! He'll rush right into his clutches! We've gotta
warn him somehow?"

Bunnie said, "But how, sugar? Nobody's faster than Sonic!"

"Nobody, perhaps," said Joseph, "but not nothing." He looked up at his
ship. He activated his communicator. <<"Bahb, three to beam up.">> In a
flash of a molecular limbo competition, they were gone. The ship pulled
away from Knothole, leaving the astonished citizens to gawk at the beauty
of the vessel.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"This is incredible!" yelled Sally as the ship rocketed through the upper
atmosphere, its cloak activated. "Your people had these sort of ships?"

"Yes," he said, "they did. But this is just a mere two-seater. Some of
the larger ships were quite glorious."

They coasted above Robotropolis, completely unnoticed by the sensors of
Robotnik. "Now, let's see if we can find your friend." He activated the
sensors, and scanned for organic life. Sure enough, he detected a signal
by the only refinery left standing. "Your friend is going to get his butt
shot off," Joseph said, "unless we give him a little bit of help."

Meanwhile, on the surface, Sonic was running for his life. He had walked
right into a trap, alright. There were more SWAT Bots there than he had
ever seen in his life. He had to use his bombs to blast his way out of the
refinery, but didn't do much damage to it otherwise. Now, he was dodging
lazer fire from every angle, and was probably going to meet his maker on
this one. That really irritated him. He'd never get to see Sally again,
he thought as he jumped behind a small wall. And they'd gotten Bunnie as
well. That REALLY steamed him. Robotnik was not only going to get him,
but Bunnie as well. He was getting ready to suck lazer when the firing

He heard a figure walking toward him. He turned around to face whatever
demise awaited him. As he suspected, it was Robotnik.

"Well, hedgehog," Robotnik growled, gloating, "looks like you've run out of
luck." He laughed. "You've got nowhere to run now, do you? At last, I've
FINALLY got you right where I want you!" He waved his arms around to show
Sonic the hopelessness of his situation. "You move, they fire. You don't
move, I fire. You've lost, hedgehog!" He laughed again, louder, enjoying
his triumph. "I won't give you the honor of being robotized by your
uncle's device! I'm just going to kill you right now, and I'm going to
make him carry your blackened, smashed carcass into the center of
Robotropolis, and hang it from the highest tower!" Laughing again, he
raised his beam weapon pistol at Sonic's head. "Good-bye, hedgehog."

As if the hand of a god had swept Sonic up, he was suddenly surrounded by
an energy field, which deflected Robotnik's shot. "WHAT??!! NOOO!!!!!!"
he swore, as Sonic began to dematerialize. "You'll never destroy mee...."
Sonic said as he disappeared into nothingness.

And then Robotnik was incapable of coherent speech for several hours

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The ship slowly made its way back to the Great Forest, as Bunnie filled in
both Sally and Sonic about their new friend's life. They cheered about
Sonic's safe return, and the mood was rather jovial.

"Even though we didn't get that last refinery destroyed," said Sonic, "it
was still worth the power ring to throw Robotnik into such a huff." He
giggled a little bit. "Man, I thought I was a goner. Bet Butt-nik
thought so, too. Boy, he's gotta be real mad."

Then, the lights began to dim inside the ship. "Oh no," said Joseph, "this
does not look good. Bahb, what's wrong?" Bahb beeped, "WARNING: Power
levels at 25% and dropping. Cloak dropping in 3 minutes. Propultion
deactivating in 5 minutes."

Joseph growled, "Bahb, I thought you said that we'd have enough power to
repair the communications array and get off this planet."

Bahb simply uttered, "You didn't give any higher parameters than that,
Jhosesophae. I used most of the ship's power in repairing the array."

Joseph pounded the dashboard and swore.

"What does that mean?" Sonic said.

"It means I'm going to be here for a while." said he. "Good thing my
landing site is only a minute away."

The ship slowly drifted over the site where he had parked last time, and
suddenly dropped right onto it. The passengers were jostled, but not
seriously injured. A collective groan went over the ship as they got out
of their seats and departed the ship.

Joseph looked at the ship. "Well, so much for my vacation at Alpha

It wasn't damaged as much as it was submerged. The nose end of the ship
had sunk into the ground, leaving the rear sticking up at a 80 degree
angle. The cloaking drones, however, had made the ship appear from the sky
to jut be an especially tall tree, surrounded by several smaller ones.

"Well," Joseph sighed, "You guys got any vacancies in that Knothole?"

"Why yes, we do." Sally said as they walked off toward Knothole, Sally
explaining several things to Joseph the whole time they walked away.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                        Yo, it's the end.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                    *** Character Profile ***

Name: Joseph

Species: Neural transfer of a fox within a body of a cyborg

Sex: Male

    Physically: 300+
    Mentally : 18

War Standing: Rebel Symp

Occupation: computer scientist specializing in artificial intelligences,
            neural nets

Specialities: technical expert, superior physical and mental abilities,
              martial arts.

Summary: Joseph (aka Josesophae) is a alien cyber-fox that came to this
         world due to a tactical error on the part of his autopilot AI.
         He supports the rebels due to his personal belief in the right of
         every sentinent being to decide its own destiny, which Robotnik
            has taken away.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                                                        -- That cyberpunk.

Send $1.00 or more       The SubGenius Foundation
and a SASE on over       P.O. BOX 140306
to this address ->       Dallas, Texas 75214           
                                                     Tell 'em "Bob" sent ya!
Received on Wed Sep 20 1995 - 22:42:28 PDT

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